Better food choices on the run, from the April 2014 Harvard Health Letter

A hectic lifestyle often forces people to rely on less-than-healthy convenience and prepackaged foods. But nutrition doesn't have to be sacrificed when time is short, reports the April 2014 Harvard Health Letter.

Planning is the key. "Healthy meals don't just happen. People have to make them happen," says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition for Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Plan meals and snacks a few days ahead, make a list and buy the foods in advance, and make time in the schedule to cook the foods."

Planning is also helpful when eating out. Select a restaurant ahead of time, review the menu online, and plan how much of your meal to eat.

Another way to guarantee healthy meals is to cook in batches. That means cooking extra when preparing a meal or snack and freezing portions for later. This works well with stews, casseroles, and soups.

Other suggestions include:

  • Making smoothies: These can be made with either fruit or vegetables or both, and used for a meal or snack any time of the day.
  • Keeping snacks simple: Easy snacks to have on the go include plain yogurt and a few nuts; an apple with some peanut butter; chopped vegetables and a quarter-cup of hummus; or a serving of string cheese and a pear. Packing these in advance makes them handy in a hurry.

Read the full-length article: "Tips for healthy food on the go"